Monday, March 18, 2024

Superior Court Confirms That, At Times, Plaintiff Can Prove Obvious Injuries Without Medical Expert

In a decision marked as "Non-Precedential" in the case of Kent v. Williams, No. 1855 EDA 2023 (Pa. Super. Feb. 13, 2024 Murray, J., Lazarus, J., and Stevens, P.J.E.) (Op. by Murray, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the entry of a nonsuit by a trial court in a fall down case.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff fell while on a ladder.  The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for not properly securing the ladder and/or providing a defective ladder.    

In this case, the Superior Court noted that a compulsory nonsuit cannot be entered prior to trial but can be treated as an entry of summary judgment by the trial court on appeal.

The appellate court additionally ruled in this case that a medical expert is not necessary to testify as to those types of injuries that may fall within the common experience and understanding of lay people on a jury, such as certain injuries that may result from a fall-down event where, as here, the Plaintiff fell 15 feet down from a ladder and landed on the surface below and allegedly sustained immediate injuries.

The court otherwise ruled that a personal injury Plaintiff is competent to testify as to his or her pain and suffering.

The appellate court additionally found that the trial court had erred in excluding the Plaintiff’s medical records entirely as hearsay. The Superior Court noted that, while some medical records or portions of records may indeed be hearsay, other portions may contain statements made for medical diagnosis which would fall under an exception to the hearsay rule. The trial court was ordered to consider each medical record individually on remand.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this non-precedential decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on

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